Words – Clare
Photos – Mitch

The party started way before doors open for the Mudvayne & Coal Chamber tour in Melbourne on Saturday night. The streets were littered with nu-metal fans gearing up for the gig and the local pub was full to the brim with painted faces honoring Mudvayne frontman Chad Gray. Everyone seems super pumped to shake off the shackles of their mundane lives and have one night to let loose and go back to a time when nu-metal bands roamed the earth.

It had been a while since Coal Chamber played together. We have definitely seen Dez perform in Melbourne with DevilDriver not too long ago, but to see Coal Chamber reunited on stage opening for Mudvayne, was definitely a treat that no one took for granted.

As the theme to the classic horror flick ‘Halloween’ played, Coal Chambers drummer Mike Cox slithered onto the stage and perched himself up in the raised kit, water was poured over his body as he rocked back and forth like a crazed animal. Cox required hands-free hydration throughout the set, a roadie would come out and pour water down his gullet as he played, all the while never missing a single beat. What a beast! As the rest of the band gathered on stage a roar spread through the hall. Pillars of thick smoke burst upwards from the stage as Coal Chambers launched into the track Loco from their 1997 self-titled debut album. What a way to start the show!


Lots of energy from the stage during Big Truck and I.O.U. Nothing as Dez told the audience ‘we come to do fucking business’ and ‘we come to put you in a body bag’. Dark Days would follow with Dez leaving the crowd to shout the chorus. The band showed huge appreciation to their fans with Dez continuously thanking the audience for their energy throughout the night. All hands were up, ticking back and forth for Clock and closing the set in the same fashion as it opened, Dez got the entire venue up on their feet as he gestured to the ceiling ‘I hope they got the goddam fire alarm right now’, which could only mean one thing, the roof, the roof, the roof was on fire for Sway. 


It was so satisfying to see Mudvayne in their full makeup as they hit the stage, and as Not Falling began the room erupted, fans going nuts as everyone sand along to the lyrics and I was immediately transported back to my youth during the days of the metal club nights in Melbourne during the early 00’s. From their debut album L.D. 50, they performed for us Under My Skin, Internal Primates Forever and -1, all of which were supremely epic, Chad coped some serious air leaping off the raised platform while bassist Ryan Martinie played like an absolute fiend. 


We all experienced a huge connection to the band and each other as Chad began a huge rant about letting go of all of life’s circumstantial bullshit, leaving it all outside to enjoy the night and getting out minds right ‘through the gospel of heavy fucking metal’ as Gray put it so aptly. We all hang on to trauma and we come to nights like this to work our shit out through metal psychotherapy, it’s just true. All the phones in the room were lit up and raised to light up the World So Cold from the 2002 album release The End of All Things to Come.


Gray stood back up on the platform and acting like a deranged choir conductor, he successfully conducted the cheers and howls of the audience. Then to the statement ‘All work and no play’ the hoard replied back ‘makes Jack a dull boy’ which meant Dull Boy from 2008’s The New Game was next. Another short pause in the set followed so the band could give their thanks, firstly to Coal Chamber for coming on the tour, secondly to the bands hard working crew, and most importantly to us, ‘The true heavy metal kids of Melbourne, Australia’ who make the world go round.


Just as the euphoria reached its peak, the night closed with some fan favourites which included Happy? from 2005’s Lost and Found which yes, did make us all very happy and Dig which was the last opportunity for everyone to lose their fucking shit. Gray stood at the edge of the stage and slowly peeled off sections of his mask, throwing them into the pit which meant it was all over. We left our bullshit outside to enjoy this one night, but now we had to leave, picking up our bullshit on the way out, tomorrow’s a new day, with new bullshit.

Thanks to the Festival Hall crew for having us and a special thanks to Maric Media for arranging media access.